Since winning the Cup in 2002 season, the Red Wings have been eliminated from the playoffs seven times (they won the cup in ‘08 and there was no season in ‘05). They were eliminated by the Ducks in 03, Flames in ‘04 and ‘07, Oilers in ‘06, Penguins in ‘09, and Sharks in ‘10 and ‘11. Basically, the Wings have lost seven playoff series since 2002. In those seven series:
- The Wings have won 13 and lost 28 games.
- Of those 28 losses, 24 have been by one goal.
- Of the 4 games that were decided by more than one goal, all were two goal losses.
- Of the 4 two-goal losses, three featured an empty-net goal by the opponent in the closing seconds.
- The Wings have gone 6-24 in one-goal games.
- Twice, the Wings have lost all four games in a series by one goal for two straight years (2002-2003, 2010-2011).
- The Wings have gone 1-10 in overtime.
- They have been outscored in a series exactly once.
- They have outscored their opponent in a series four times.
- They have outscored their opponents 106-103 across all seven series.
- They have been outshot in a series exactly once.
- They have outshot their opponents 1,386-1,200.
- They have lost 11 games in which they have outshot their opponent by at least 10 shots.
Are you cutting yourself yet? I could probably go on, but those are just the things I could come up with quickly.
If you follow the wings, you probably grumble about this stuff all the time: Watching every overtime period with a sense of knowing dread, watching goalie after goalie stand on his head, wondering why it seems like we lose every single game by one goal (it’s because we have).
But despite the agony encompassed in the above list, I wouldn’t exchange the last 20 years of Red Wings hockey for anything. They’re like chemo: simultaneously soul-destroying and life-sustaining. And hockey…I mean, I understand if you grew up elsewhere and never got into it. But holy hell, I’ve felt comfortable turning off like four Red Wings playoff games in a decade. Even when they lose, they keep you on the edge of your seat for two or three hours.
Yeah, those seven, four-loss series really hurt. But they were fun. And so were all the wins. And the four Cups. But when we look back on the past two decades of playoff agony and ecstasy, Wings fans should be thankful. That we’re not Blackhawks fans.